Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breeders' Cup Flashback: Better Talk Now

It was one of the first Breeders’ Cups I remember watching. It was the year I had been bitten by the racing bug. I was a big fan of two horses that year: Smarty Jones and Better Talk Now. Only the latter of the two was in the Breeders’ Cup.

Lone Star Park, where Better Talk Now won the
Breeders' Cup Turf
Photo by Mary Cage

Horse racing was playing on the TV. I hardly knew anything about racing at the time, but I watched as the horses turned for home in the 2004 Man O’ War Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park. A dark, nearly black horse caught my attention as the horses headed toward the finish line. He had his neck stretched out and he was lengthening his stride robustly, galloping with determination toward the leaders. He didn’t win, but I was captivated by his beauty and the way he moved. I listened intently for his name and once I heard it, the name Better Talk Now was etched in my mind.
Considering Better Talk Now was the longest shot on the board in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI), I guess he didn’t impress others as much as he had impressed me. His price on the tote board didn’t matter, though. Within the final furlong of the Lone Star Park turf course, Better Talk Now drew away to win the prestigious turf race by nearly two lengths.
I thank God for 2004, because it was the year that started it all for me. I had picked Smarty Jones to win the Kentucky Derby and Better Talk Now to win the BC Turf. Both ended up winning and I am forever a huge fan of both of them.
Better Talk Now is my favorite turf horse ever and I will never forget following him throughout the rest of his racing career. In his next three Breeders’ Cup races, he finished second, fourth, and eighth in the Turf, respectively. After finishing second in the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (GI) for the second year in a row, Better Talk Now was retired due to a suspensory injury in his left hind leg.
The beautiful gelding, who lives out his days with his trainer Graham Motion, recently was treated at the New Bolton Center for a gastrointestinal problem. After quite the health scare, the winner of $4.3 million returned home to Motion's Herringswell Stables at Fair Hill. Let’s hope Better Talk Now lives the long, healthy, happy life he deserves.

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